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Paris set to become more bike friendly under presidential candidate's plan

People ride bikes on the deserted Place de la Concorde, during the curfew, aimed at curbing the spread of the Covid-19 disease, in Paris, on March 30, 2021.
People ride bikes on the deserted Place de la Concorde, during the curfew, aimed at curbing the spread of the Covid-19 disease, in Paris, on March 30, 2021.   -   Copyright  Ludovic MARIN / AFP
By Rosie Frost

Paris wants to become one of the most bike-friendly cities in Europe with plans to turn itself into a “cycling city” by 2026.

Mayor Anne Hidalgo, socialist party presidential candidate and Mayor of Paris since 2014, announced last year that they are investing €250 million in improving cycling infrastructure.

Mayor Hidalgo, who has been called 'the greenest mayor of Paris', said ‘Plan Velo: Act 2’ includes thousands of new bike stands and more cycle paths. The improvements will be made over the next four years.

The aim is to make it possible to cycle safely from one end of Paris to the other.

As of 2021, Paris had more than 1,000km of safe cycle paths including around 52km of “coronapistes.” These were temporarily introduced during the pandemic but have now been made permanent.

The aim is to make it possible to cycle safely from one end of Paris to the other.

Paris officials are hoping to make it easier to get across the city on a bike by introducing routes that cross the city and go out into the surrounding suburbs. Places where cyclists are put in danger by crossing busy roads and key entry points into the city centre will also be made more secure.

JACQUES DEMARTHON/AFP
A family rides bikes as pedestrians walk on The Champs Elysees in the French capital Paris, on September 22, 2019, during the fifth edition of "day without cars".JACQUES DEMARTHON/AFP

Paris has reported that in 2020 bike thefts increased by seven per cent and around 80 per cent of people who don’t cycle say fear of their bike being stolen is their number one worry.

To encourage more people to embrace pedal power, Paris is more than tripling its secure cycle parking by adding 100,000 new spots including 1,000 spaces for cargo bikes.

Starting a cycling ‘revolution’

Mayor Hidalgo was elected for a second term in June 2020 after introducing a number of pro-cycling and pedestrian-friendly measures to the city. Paris has already spent €150 million on an initial bike plan that was praised as the start of a “revolution” for the city.

“This cycling plan is one of the essential pillars of ecological and social transformation that we are leading in Paris,” tweeted David Belliard, deputy mayor in charge of urban transformation.

Ever since 2015, Paris has held a “car-free day” where most of the traffic is removed from its busy centre. Thoroughfares including the Champs-Élysées avenue are instead filled with walkers and cyclists. The annual event is intended to curb vehicle use and pollution in Paris.